Wednesday, October 20, 2010

8 Years....

It was 8 years ago today, but I will never forget that day.  The day I lost my father to pancreatic cancer.  We knew the day was coming, but it was still a shock when it happened.  He was diagnosed in Dec 2001, and was given 2 months to a year.  It was too advanced for any kind of treatment.  He lasted 10 months after the diagnosis.  He did not change after the diagnosis, which I've come to admire.  He lived his life as he normally did; smoking, gambling, and going out with friends.  He did not let his disease defeat him.

As I said, we knew the day was coming.  I just didn't know that it would happen so fast.  4 or 5 years prior, his best friend (one of my godfathers - I have more than one) battled cancer as well and was in the Cross Cancer Institute for about 3 months before passing away.  We visited many times.

My dad was admitted to St Joseph's Auxiliary Hospital on Thursday, Oct 17.  I wasn't able to see him on the Friday - at the time I was going to school full-time (just like I am now!) and then I worked 6:30-3:30 am.  It's something I look back on and regret not taking the day off because that was the day he lost his voice.  Saturday I went to see him, but I was tired from working the night before so I went home to take a nap.  I came back Saturday night and along with my mom and my brother, stayed the night.  However, Sunday morning his health took a turn for the worse and he had his Last Rites read.  It was a long, somber, tiring day.  My brother and I were hungry since we hadn't eaten lunch, so we headed to the Burger King a couple blocks away at around 7 pm.  15 minutes later, we got the call to head back quickly.  We ran back as fast as we could but it was too late.  My dad passed away at 7:20 pm, with only my mom in the room.  He had asked where we were (my mom read his lips) before passing away.

For the longest time, I beat myself up for not thinking of just picking up burgers and heading back.  I kept thinking that my mom was left all alone, and that we missed his last moments.  It's taken a long time, but I've learned to forgive myself.  I don't think of it as my mom was left alone, I think of it as my dad had someone by his side.  And we couldn't have known what time was his time. 

Of course, it's been a struggle.  After he passed away, I was so distraught I stayed in bed for the next month.  I didn't eat, didn't go to school, barely worked.  I didn't even noticed how much weight I lost until one of my mom's friends pointed it out to her.  I had dropped to 100 pounds.  You could see it in my face from my college grad pics; my cheeks were a bit sunk in (not my fave pics).  Days like his birthday, death anniversary, Father's Day are tough days.  One of the toughest days was the day I married my wonderful husband.  Even though getting married was the happiest day of my life, it was still tough not having him walk down the aisle.  I had my mom and my brother walk me down, which made it a bit easier, but I did not hear the music playing (the song I chose to walk to), I had people reminding me to smile.  I was just too busy concentrating on getting to the end of the aisle, though when I got there, I still burst into tears.  But he was there with me, as he's always there with me.

Just today, he played a prank on me!  I knew it was him because it's happened to me before.  Today, I found that my student ID (also my bus pass) was in my back pocket.  However, it was not in the plastic holder I always have it in, along with my SPC card.  I panicked for a minute but eventually found it in my jacket pocket.  I never take my ID out of that holder, but somehow it got separated.  That's my dad for you!

It's days like this that make me appreciate life and helps me focus on what I have, instead of what I don't.  I have a loving and supportive family, as well as good friends; what more could a person need?

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